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Affirmative action and long-run changes in group inequality in India

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  • Hemanshu Kumar
  • Rohini Somanathan

Abstract

Research on caste-based inequalities in India has generally focused on differences between large categories such as the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes, and the remainder of the population. We contribute to the literature on horizontal inequalities in India by looking within these groupings, and studying differences between the individual jatis that comprise these categories. Using census data, we find evidence of persistent inequalities in educational outcomes between the jatis, suggesting that socio-economic hierarchies have proved to be stable throughout the post-Independence period. Indeed, the evidence points to divergence: communities with more education in 1961 also had higher educational attainment in 2001. Also, while numerically larger Scheduled Caste communities witnessed greater improvements in educational levels compared to smaller ones, this was not true for the Scheduled Tribes. This may be the result of their greater political mobilization.

Suggested Citation

  • Hemanshu Kumar & Rohini Somanathan, 2016. "Affirmative action and long-run changes in group inequality in India," WIDER Working Paper Series 085, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  • Handle: RePEc:unu:wpaper:wp2016-085
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    File URL: https://www.wider.unu.edu/sites/default/files/wp2016-85.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Guilhem Cassan, 2015. "Identity-Based Policies and Identity Manipulation: Evidence from Colonial Punjab," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 7(4), pages 103-131, November.
    2. Banerjee, Abhijit & Somanathan, Rohini, 2007. "The political economy of public goods: Some evidence from India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 287-314, March.
    3. Rohini Pande, 2003. "Can Mandated Political Representation Increase Policy Influence for Disadvantaged Minorities? Theory and Evidence from India," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1132-1151, September.
    4. Hemanshu Kumar and Rohini Somanathan, 2015. "State And District Boundary Changes In India-(1961-2001)," Working papers 248, Centre for Development Economics, Delhi School of Economics.
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    Cited by:

    1. Rohini Somanathan, 2016. "Group Inequality in Democracies: Lessons from Cross-national Experiences," Working papers 260, Centre for Development Economics, Delhi School of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    caste; tribe; India; disadvantaged groups; horizontal inequalities; affirmative action; education;

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